Men's Basketball Falls At Long Island, 84-74

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - James Johnson (Queens, N.Y.) had a game-high 24 points and Justin Rutty (Newburgh, N.Y.) added 20 points, but the Quinnipiac University men's basketball team was defeated by NEC-leading Long Island, 84-74, Saturday afternoon at the Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center. With the loss, the Bobcats fall to 15-8 (7-5 NEC), while the Blackbirds improve to 18-5 (10-2 NEC). The loss snapped a 10-game Quinnipiac winning streak against Long Island.

Lance Brown (Teaneck, N.J.) and Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) had 10 points and seven rebounds apiece for the Bobcats, while Ike Azotam had a team-high 10 rebounds. Rutty added six rebounds.

Julian Boyd had a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead LIU. Kyle Johnson and Jason Brickman had 15 points apiece, while Jamal Olasewere and David Hicks had 10 points apiece.

The Bobcats jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the game, with Jamee Jackson (Newark, N.J.) scoring four points in the spurt. LIU scored the next five points, but the Bobcats would maintain a lead until the 8:46 mark. After a controversial no-call on an apparent goal tend of an Ike Azotam (Boston, Mass. ) lay-up that would've given Quinnipiac a three-point lead, Kenny Onyechi gave LIU its first lead of the game, 24-23, with two free throws at the 8:46 mark. The lead swelled to as many as eight points, 37-29, on a Michael Culpo putback at the 3:40 mark. Quinnipiac battled back to within two, and LIU took a four-point lead, 43-39, at the half.

James Johnson led all first-half scorers with 16 points, while Kyle Johnson led the Blackbirds with nine points at the break.

After LIU extended its lead to nine points, 50-41, with seven of the first nine points of the second half, the Bobcats rattled off eight straight points to cut the deficit to one point, 50-49, with 15:07 left in regulation. Rutty scored three straight buckets to cap the run. A lay-up by Brown tied the game at 53-53 with 13:50 remaining and Jackson's tip-in gave Quinnipiac its first lead of the second half, 55-53, with 13:31 left.

The lead extended to three, 57-54, on Jackson's jumper at the 12:22 mark, before LIU went on an 8-0 run and never trailed again. Brickman nailed a three-pointer before Boyd's lay-up at the 11:19 mark gave the Blackbirds a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Quinnipiac battled back to within four points on three different occasions, but could get no closer.

After both teams went to the line for 15 shots apiece in the first half, LIU was the beneficiary of 16 second-half free throws to the Bobcats' three. Quinnipiac was whistled for 11 second-half fouls, while Long Island was called for just two fouls.

For the game, Long Island outshot Quinnipiac, 48.4 percent (30-62) to 38.5 percent (30-78) from the floor and 42.9 percent (9-21) to 25.0 percent (4-16) from long range. Quinnipiac edged LIU, 55.6 percent (10-18) to 48.4 percent (15-31) from the free-throw line. The top two rebounding teams in the NEC tied each other on the boards, 47-47.

Quinnipiac returns home Wednesday, when it begins a home-and-home series with Sacred Heart as part of NEC Rivalry Week. Opening tip from the TD Bank Sports Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. The series continues Monday, Feb. 14, in Fairfield. The latter game will be televised live on MSG.